While cheering with a large group of passionate fans has its advantages, sometimes you just want to watch soccer in a bar with people who love the sport and can reasonably discuss whether a player dived or was fouled. That's when you head to one of these spots, which are known as some of the Washington area's best all-around soccer bars. They might get more American or English fans for certain matches, but you can guarantee the bars will show every minute of the action from Brazil - with sound.
Babylon Futbol Cafe
The name says it all: Babylon is a large bar and restaurant full of televisions that caters to Spanish-speaking soccer fans on Saturday and Sunday mornings. The match of the day is shown on a 22-foot HD screen. That will make it a prime spot for daytime games, but the Bailey's Crossroads nightspot, tucked in a corner of Leesburg Pike Plaza, draws a different crowd after dark: folks who come to smoke shisha pipes and listen to reggae bands or DJs spinning old-school hip-hop tunes.
Fado Irish Pub
Ireland didn't make the World Cup, but that won't stop the party at Fado. Expect large crowds for the daily food and drink specials. And remember to show up early, as the Chinatown bar won't take reservations.
Think you know who's going to win? The pub is running a bracket challenge with a $1 million prize for anyone who correctly predicts the outcome of every match.
Flanagan's Harp and Fiddle
The top soccer-viewing spot in Bethesda has large televisions, a nice outdoor bar (with more screens) and affordable pub grub. No entree on the lunch menu costs more than $10. At happy hour, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m., pitchers start at $5 for Bud Light - perfectly timed for the U.S. team's first two matches, both of which start at 6 p.m.
The pioneering soccer bar in Washington caters to fans of English and Spanish league teams throughout their respective seasons, but during the World Cup you'll see fans sporting jerseys from around the globe. (And some attire from the Dupont Circle bar, too: Lucky is selling a special World Cup-themed T-shirt.) An extended weekday happy hour (3-8 p.m.), $5 16-ounce Budweiser bottles and numerous large flatscreens and projection screens make this a great spot for hanging out and watching a few games in a row.
The Pug has a fraction of the TVs that some other bars do, but the soccer scarves hanging from the ceiling and the DC United logo on the wall are your clue that this is a serious soccer dive with cheap canned beer, an all-local draft list and a huge Irish whiskey selection. The H Street NE bar will be open for every match, though it's obviously pulling for the U.S. team.
This Irish pub has built a reputation as a soccer bar by hosting game-watching parties with supporter groups, including Liverpool's and DC United's Screaming Eagles. During the World Cup, the bar will offer drink specials during every match.
This Arlington restaurant-cum-sports bar, located near the Courthouse Metro station, was named "Best Soccer Bar" by U.S. Soccer back in 2002, after it stayed open 24/7 to show live games from the World Cup in Japan and Korea. Summers attracts fans who hail from all over the globe year-round, though turnout is particularly strong during U.S. matches. The best part of Summers' World Cup viewing schedule: If you can't watch a key match live during the day, it usually will be shown on tape delay later that evening. (Just stay off the Internet.)